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Once upon a morning…

Putting icing sugar in my coffee was, in fact, the icing on the turdcake of my morning.

Picture yourself in bed, squashed.

You have a wriggling three year old on one side and a spreadeagled six year old on the other.

One rolls out and you gratefully unfold your limbs – then leap to attention as he starts emptying your jewellery box. For once, you’ve all slept beyond 5am – but it’s Wednesday and everyone needs to be out the door in 45 minutes.

There’s the usual nonsense of breakfast rejected, iPads demanded and juice spilled – punctuated by “No, I’m not getting dressed,” every five minutes.

You cobble together the lunchboxes, scrape your curls into a ponytail, split up fights in your underwear and then herd them into the bathroom to brush their teeth. The three year old is still in his pyjamas because, “NO, I’M NOT GETTING DRESSED,” is still on repeat.

“Fine, you can go to nursery like that,” you say. He stops, considers and then grins widely. What fun.

The six year old wants to cram 16 toy cars into his school bag and you spill them on the driveway as you shove everything into the car, including your older son. The three year old is wailing on the doorstep. It’s cold outside when you’re only wearing pyjamas. You throw all his clothes in a Tesco bag, go back for shoes, give a martyred smile to a passing mother with well-behaved, clothed children and strap the squirming toddler down. I mean in.

You arrive at nursery. He’s been very quiet and now whispers “Mummy, can I get dressed now?”

“Yes of course darling,” you cry brightly, wrestling with seatbelts and pyjama tops and jumpers. Your six year old, who’s jumped into the front seat to ‘drive’, decides to throw open the door just as a van drives past, resulting in screeching of breaks, honking of horns and a minor heart attack.

You leave the small one half naked on the pavement to rescue the big one, apologise to the driver, resist the urge to lose your shit and finally, finally, deposit the now-clothed but suddenly inconsolable child with the nursery teacher. “Mummy don’t goooooooooo,” he wails, as you remove the teacher’s mobile from the older one’s hands and usher him back to the car.

He wets himself.

I mean f**k. The last time he did that he was three.

You rush home, change his trousers, grab a tenner to buy milk after drop off cos you’re going to need some serious coffee and push him through the door as the bell goes.

You bump into a dad in the corner shop.

“Did you know we had to pay for the school trip today?” he asks you.

You burst out laughing because of course you didn’t and he kindly offers to drop the £1.60 into reception for you. Then he texts you to say actually, they don’t accept cash, you must pay online, but there’s a £2 minimum spend, so actually you have to add credit to your account and f**k how do you even do that and what’s the three digit code for your credit card anyway and do you give consent and then – at last – it’s all done and you can have a coffee.

With icing sugar.






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Day 4: God this is tough

Another morning coffee avoided. Another morning of weird breakfast because I forgot about my overnight oats. Dragging a reluctant six year old around Tesco trying to work out which aisle the bloody tins of chickpeas live in was a low point. But I’m hanging on in there.

I think, given my conversation with the farmer yesterday, the only reason I’m continuing with this challenge is for re-education purposes. I’ve gotten into bad habits and I want to reset. I’m enjoying eating lots of fruit and veg, particularly cucumber and carrot sticks, I’m feeling the benefit of not drinking coffee four times a day and I’m relishing the challenge of creating tasty evening meals using new ingredients. I mean, I had never bought tofu before this week.

Today I also bought quorn. I figured if I enjoyed my stir fry that much, I should just repeat that meal with other meat substitutes. These are the habits which are likely to stick. I cannot wait to use milk again and I am definitely going to bake myself a camembert when this challenge is over. Mmmmmmmm camembert…

Oh. I’ve just checked the label and Quorn contains egg whites. Crap.

Well, dinner was delicious. More stir fried tofu, this time with spring onions, beansprouts, carrots and courgettes.

tofu stirfry

Today’s menu

Breakfast: Tin of mandarins, fresh orange juice

Snack: Cucumber and carrot sticks, red pepper humous, water

Lunch: Vegetable soup, a banana, water

Snack: I didn’t have time for a snack today

Dinner: Stir fried tofu, spring onion, courgette, carrot, beansprouts, rice, Prosecco (don’t worry, I checked, no animal products were used)


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Vegan Challenge Day 2: eyeing the ice cream

Screen Shot 2017-04-04 at 19.57.16If ever my resolve were to crumble, it would be right here.

Next to this freezer of fun was a mouthwatering selection of cakes and the seductive aroma of coffee. Not only did I resist all these temptations, I bought four ice creams for four small children and didn’t lick a single one.

My peppermint tea was actually amazing – so flavourful – and I experienced a small moment of smugness as I realised the level of willpower I had just displayed. For naturally, as soon as I was away from the dairy goodness and outside in the fresh air, I no longer craved it.

Two very good things happened today, foodwise. One, I realised I could eat the bag of Walkers Ready Salted offered to me after my vegetable soup, but the other was a game changer at the end of a very tiring day with my two darling, but temporarily possessed, sons.

Screen Shot 2017-04-04 at 19.56.53

Now, I realise one of my goals this week was to avoid alcohol, but in my defence, I did. I avoided the Freixenet Rose my lovely mum had brought me at the weekend, because Mr Barnivore (see above) informed me they use “fining matters of animal origin”. As I was having the internal dialogue of whether this counts, I spotted the Corona bottles and saved myself the moral dilemma. In for a penny, in for a pound.

It’s 8pm and I am a little bit hungry – but I think I’ll have a banana and be fine. I’m quite chuffed with myself for not falling off the wagon yet. Or going to Starbucks for a caramel machiatto and a cinnamon swirl. It’s the challenge that keeps on giving…

Screen Shot 2017-04-04 at 19.56.46

Today’s menu:

Breakfast: overnight oats with almond milk and half a tin of peaches; water (I had a headache)

Snack: Carrot and cucumber sticks in the car en route to our day out

Lunch: Homemade vegetable soup (totally delicious, I surprise myself sometimes), half a packet of Walkers Ready salted (the other half was stolen by a small child), water

Snack: Peppermint tea, walnuts, raisins, banana

Dinner: Lentil and vegetable bake – made with passata, sweet potato, onion, celery, red pepper, carrots and peas (for colour, it was so orange.); a pint of Ribena.

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Playroom renovation COMPLETE!

A year ago today – exactly – we moved to Edinburgh. To mark this anniversary, we can FINALLY say our house is finished! The boys have a new playroom and we have a whole new room in our house.


I am SO EXCITED about picking up the Wee Man from school – he’s going to burst. Then we’ll have the best job ever of filling it with toys!

It’s been a fun journey – here it is in pictures.

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So my top tips based on our renovation?

  • Get good tradesmen and pay them promptly – the plumber must have been back and forth five or six times, but he was always very obliging because I transferred the money for his bill the same day each time.
  • Take advice even though you had a pretty fixed idea in your head
  • Shop around online – I ordered the staircase myself and saved hundreds of pounds. Of course, I didn’t tell the joiner until after he’d put it all together. He actually said: “You’ve just risen in my estimations”
  • Make lots and lots of tea and coffee and always buy the good biscuits
  • Make “how could I save a bit of money on that?” your default phrase – even when you’re in CarpetRight and everyone’s listening and the assistant is getting more and more pissed off as their commission shrinks before their eyes
  • If you don’t understand what your tradesman’s on about, say you’ll get back to him and Google it. I had to tell the painter about PVA for sealing brickwork – he thought I’d have to buy a specialist substance at £50 per tub.
  • Use PVA for sealing brickwork
  • Make sure your plasterer wears safety goggles – mine didn’t, even though he was doing ceilings, and had to go to the eye hospital leaving shite all over the place for two extra days
  • Humour people. No matter who you have in, they should have been in before the last guy. Just agree and offer more biscuits.
  • Offer lots of praise and then swiftly remove it when they’re not up to scratch – I’ve found it makes them much more eager to please. Yes I know this is coldly calculating.
  • Order wallpaper online. Never buy it from a shop. Ever.
  • Be prepared to get involved if it keeps everything on schedule. I was painting skirtings the night before the carpets came.
  • Locks. Put locks on as many doors as you can, especially if you have young, curious trouble-making children.
  • Be super nice to your neighbours throughout.
  • Make sure there is a spare key with a neighbour at all times.
  • Save everyone’s mobile number into your phone. Seems simple, but honestly saves your sanity.
  • Don’t let your husband do a dump run in the middle of any renovation, ever.
  • Take photos of every stage
  • Have fun with it – it can be a huge pain in the arse but it’s so worth it!

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Protected: Sleep Training Live: Night 5

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Protected: Sleep Training Live: Night 1 results

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Protected: Sleep training live: night 1 part 2

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